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Souvenir Playing Cards from Lebanon

Published September 04, 2023 Updated September 04, 2023

Multicoloured Belgian/Genoese pattern cards, probably printed by Fournier for Lebanon.

1957 Lebanon Middle East Manufacturing Co Souvenir Add to Collection

Although it states clearly on the box that these cards were “Made in Lebanon”, it is probable that they were in fact printed by Fournier in Spain. Maybe the box was made in Lebanon. The court card designs, a multicoloured version of the Belgian/Genoese pattern, are essentially the same as in the Eldar pack by Memco but here the indices are in English. Curiously, the frame lines now cut off the crowns of the Kings and Queens (perhaps deliberately?).

The wording “MEMCO / BEIRUT LEBANON” is present on all the court cards in the Hearts suit. A Lebanese tax stamp can be seen on the Ace of Clubs. The souvenir aspect comes from the back design – a cedar of Lebanon covered in snow with the wording “Souvenir du Liban” in the bottom left-hand corner.

Souvenir Playing Cards From Lebanon made in Lebanon by the Middle East Manufacturing Co. S.A.L. probably printed by Fournier for Lebanon, 1957 Souvenir Playing Cards From Lebanon made in Lebanon by the Middle East Manufacturing Co. S.A.L. probably printed by Fournier for Lebanon, 1957

Above: Souvenir Playing Cards From Lebanon made in Lebanon by the Middle East Manufacturing Co. S.A.L. (according to the box) but probably printed by Fournier for Lebanon, 1957. 52 cards in tuck box (no Jokers present). Size: 58 x 88 mm.

According to the box, the cards should have “Golden Corners” but this pack appears never to have had any! There should be two Jokers or extra cards but these are unfortunately missing. The other side of the box has a card attached to it, showing the back design. See the box


Reference

Fournier Museum Catalogue, Vol. 1, Lebanon 6.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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